Fort Myers Orthodontics Appliance Instructions


After your braces are removed, it is important to wear your retainer consistently to maintain your alignment that you worked so hard for. Depending on your situation Dr. Favalli may give you three types of retainers:

  • Hawley Retainer: Made of acrylic and wire, this is the most common type of retainer. It holds your teeth in position and is removable.
  • Clear or Invisible Retainer: This type of retainer looks very similar to the clear aligners used in Invisalign® system. Made of thin transparent plastic, they are designed to cover your teeth exactly and maintain your alignment. These are also easily removed.
  • Permanent Retainer: In some instances, a retainer may be bonded to the backs of your teeth. The retainer is not removable and is usually worn for months. If your teeth are at a high risk of losing their alignment, Dr. Favalli, may suggest the use of a permanent retainer.

If your retainer is removable, (Hawley or Invisible), please follow these important guidelines:

  • Wear your retainer exactly as Dr. Oliver has instructed. Make wearing it and cleaning it part of your daily routine.
  • Remove your retainer to eat. After removing it, always place it directly in its case. Most appliances get lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants, so develop the habit of putting it away in its case immediately after taking it off.
  • Fully clean your retainer once every day, using a toothbrush and toothpaste, with warm water. Keeping your retainer fresh and clean is important, as this removes any plaque, and helps to eliminate odors. You can also use various orthodontic appliance cleaners, but using these products won’t replace the need to do a full cleaning with toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Always, always keep your retainer safely stowed in its case after you remove it. You’d be surprised how many retainers are destroyed by curious pets!
  • You have to get used to wearing your retainer, and it may be hard to speak normally at first. You can make the process faster by practicing speaking or singing while you wear it. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take long!
  • A retainer is breakable, so it must be handled carefully at all times. If it gets broken or lost, call our office at once.
  • If you have any concerns about fit, or believe your retainer should be adjusted, call us immediately. Don’t attempt any adjustments yourself, as this could damage your retainer.
  • Have an appointment? Always bring your retainer with you so it can be checked.
  • Your retainer can last for years if you care for it correctly. Replacements can be expensive, so it is well worth following the rules.
  • Going swimming? Remove your retainer, and place it safely in its case while you swim.
  • Keep your retainer away from hot water. Other situations that may cause damage to your retainer include leaving it on the dashboard of a car, in your pockets, inadvertently putting it into the wash, or in a napkin.

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Rapid Palatal Expander

Adjusting Your Palatal Expander

A palatal expander works to allow your teeth to better fit together by slowly widening the upper jaw, or palate. Proper use of an expander makes it possible for permanent teeth to fit, avoiding crowding and crossbite, without the need for extractions – an important advantage. Once the correct degree of expansion is achieved, it will be necessary to continue to wear the appliance for a time to ensure there is no regression. Follow the instructions Dr. Oliver has provided, so the jaw expansion process is fast and effective.

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Herbst Appliance

A Herbst appliance corrects any problems associated with the front-to-back relationship of the upper and lower jaw. It slowly guides the bottom jaw to grow into position, correcting a short lower jaw, and giving the patient a better profile, correcting bite, and giving a fuller smile.

The appliance is made of rods and tubes that connect the lower and bottom jaw. The appliance does not cause problems with opening or closing the mouth, or eating, but jaw movement from side-to-side is restricted.
If you have a Herbst appliance, watch for these issues:

  • When the appliance is first installed, there could be some tenderness or soreness of the teeth. This will fade quickly as the mouth adapts.
  • If there is any irritation of the mouth tissue, applying dental wax can help.
  • The bottom screws could cause minor irritation, but this will soon resolve. Place wax over the screws for more comfort, or apply a product such as Brace Relief to the inside of the lip.
  • During the first week of treatment, you will be placing cotton rolls inside your cheeks to protect your lips and cheeks. We will show you how to place them and attach the rolls with rubber bands.
  • If your child is experiencing any soreness, softer foods will help resolve the problem, particularly over the first couple of weeks.
  • Avoid eating sticky foods as they can get caught on the appliance and create various problems, including causing damage.
  • If the mouth is opened wide, the rods and tubes could slide apart. You may be able to put them back in place yourself, but if not, come to our office. If the rods and tubes fall apart too easily and too often, the appliance can be altered by lengthening the rods.
  • If the appliance comes loose or any part of it breaks (screws, crowns of other part), call our office so we can repair it. If there is any pain associated with the breakage, we can see you right away.

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